It’s reflexive, the way his breath hitches at the sound of his lover’s voice.
“Trouble! Trouble it’s me, tell them it’s me, please!”
The impostor’s yanked down onto his knees.
An execution. It has to be. There’s no other way.
Fake, fake, fake, not real, not real—
“Trouble, please!” And Trouble panics. How could he not? It looks, it sounds, it smells like him, but it’s not, that’s not him, he tells himself, it’s not. It’s not.
He prays it’s not.
His lover—the impostor strains against his chains, pleading, begging and Trouble has to look away from the sight of him.
“Trouble,” he says, more softly. “Please…after all this…?”
And it’s reflexive, the tweaking of his heart at the thoughts and memories but they’re of another man, not the one begging for his life right in front of him. Not him, not him.
Please not him.
The man—the impostor—slouches in his restraints, resigned.
“Commander?” one of the recruits calls at him, and gods does Trouble wish Blade were here.
“I—I’ve got this,” Trouble says in his most commander-y voice, but it cracks anyway, weak with guilt that shouldn’t be there.
He grabs at the gun strapped to his thigh, checking to make certain there’s bullets and of course there’s bullets but he’s just wasting time now, because maybe…maybe there was a mistake? Maybe Blade will come running in all dramatic, commanding everyone to stop, it’s him, it’s him, and…and…
A recruit yelps, snapping Trouble’s eyes back up in time to see the impostor pulling at the chains, dragging one of the recruits towards his gaping maw.
Reflexive. His arm and trigger-finger work before his mind catches up. He sees the bullet sailing, trained onto his lover’s heart, and then Trouble blinks.
He’s on the floor, hands and knees, heaving what’s left of his lunch. It intermingles with black, black ichor.
It’s been days, days and days of sleep and rest and food that should be delicious but tastes like ashes in his mouth. Worried looks and hushed whispers seem to trail him after him like ghosts haunting the back of his head, and Blade can’t come soon enough to take back command.
He sighs into his pillow, wishes he could blink and everything would be back to norm—
“Oh shit!” Trouble leaps back and tumbles out of bed.
“Sorry! Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you!” And he knows that voice, knows that laugh, it’s him and—
And it’s reflexive, the way his breath hitches when he looks into his lover’s eyes, and can’t bear to hold his gaze.